Weston McKennie saw a half of action for Juventus in their momentum-building victory over Cagliari while Tanner Tessmann saw red for Venezia in their tough loss to Lazio
Juventus 2 – 0 Cagliari
Weston McKennie was initially on the Juventus Bench against Cagliari on Tuesday evening, however head coach Massimiliano Allegri found life empty without his American star, bringing him on for a second-half push that sealed the victory.
Juve dominated from start to finish, holding 63% of possession, leading shots by 15 to 6, and completing twice as many passes as their foes. Nevertheless, it took the until the tail-end of the first-half to break through.
Federico Bernardeschi did most of the hard work, taking on three Cagliari defenders to work his way to the edge of the box on the right side, then fired a pass forward towards the penalty spot where Moise Kean leaned in to put away the header.
McKennie entered the game at the half for Adrien Rabiot on the left side of Allegri’s three-man midfield, and kept Cagliari in check, winning a number of duels to prevent them from building any momentum.
The game was finally sealed seven minutes before full time, with Bernardeschi again the key-man. This time, Dejan Kulusevski intercepted a poor pass near the midfield stripe and advanced up the right before finding Bernardeschi wide open on the left.
The recent Euro Cup winner worked his way into the left side of the area, spotted a tight angle at the far post, and hit his pinpointed shot just inside the upright for 2-0.
The victory, Juve’s second straight, brings them up to fifth in the standings, now only four points off of the Champions League places. They will be back in action following the break on January 6, when the host Napoli.
Venezia FC 1 – 3 Lazio
Both Tanner Tessmann and Gianluca Busio were second-half substitutes for Venezia in their home match against Lazio on Wednesday afternoon, as they were dealt a tough loss in their final game before the holiday break.
Busio played most of the second half, entering in 55th minute as a substitute for Antonio Vacca, while Tessmann played just over 20 minutes after coming on for Domen Crnigoj, however had perhaps a greater impact with his late red card.
Lazio already had the hosts under pressure from the start, taking the lead in the third minute after a spectacular, weaving run and low shot by Spaniard Pedro, however the hosts stayed in the game and equalized through an athletic header by the mid-air Francesco Forte moments before the half-hour.
Returning from the half, Lazio again struck quickly, with a corner by Danilo Cataldi taking an ever-so-slight deflection off of Francesco Acerbi on its way into the net to restore lead in the 49th minute.
By the time that Busio and Tessmann were on the field, Venezia were in an increasingly desperate situation trying to draw even, which was perhaps a factor in a late reckless moment by the latter which left his team with an insurmountable disadvantage in the final moments.
One minute into added time, while battling for possession against several Lazio opponents at the midfield stripe, Tessmann made an ill-advised lunge with his cleats slightly off the ground.
While he only made minimal, glancing contact with Luis Alberto, the Spanish midfielder made a meal of it, prompting referee Fabio Maresca to show a straight red.
In the 95th minute, Alberto added a goal to his accomplishments, controlling a cross from the right with his chest then one-timing it from near the penalty spot past Sergio Romero for the final 3-1 scoreline.
Despite the loss, are still six points out of the bottom three at the season’s halfway point. They will be back in action on January 6 with a trip to last-place Salernitana.
Bryan Reynolds did not participate on Wednesday evening in Roma’s 1-1 draw at home against Sampdoria.